Polylactic acid (PLA)

Cutting edge production for biopolymer

PLA is the most promising biopolymer based on renewable feedstock, with global capacity expected to grow from 0.1 Mta today to 2 Mta over the next few years. In cooperation with Purac, Sulzer has developed a new process to convert lactides to PLA. This is available as a complete, skid-mounted unit.

PLA plant at Synbra with 5 000 t/a capacity, designed and delivered by Sulzer
Main benefits

This state-of-the-art PLA production technology has many advantages compared to standard technologies:

  • Highly efficient polymerization process using static mixer technology
  • Fast product transitions between different PLA grades due to short residence time
  • Operational flexibility to produce different PLA grades with different molecular weights
  • Compact-sized plants
  • Straight-forward scalability to bigger plant sizes of up to 100 kt/a
  • Low maintenance costs due to installation of mainly static equipment
Main applications
  • For Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) biopolymer
Biodegradable PLA

Biodegradable PLA

Biodegradable polymers based on renewable feedstock have started to replace conventional polymers produced from fossil fuel. Sulzer now offers a complete plant solution for the PLA production process, which was jointly developed with Purac. Lactide monomer is polymerized in a continuous, fully integrated process using Sulzer's proprietary SMR technology and equipment.

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